What Are The 3 Top Soundbars For Music?

Evan Shephard Avatar

Reviewed By

Evan Shephard

(ISF Certified)

True Score Methodology

v1.5

394,661

Reviews Analyzed

Updated Apr 8, 2024 12:07 PM
best soundbar for music guide that shows the top best soundbar model

If you’re looking for the best soundbar for music, then you want to read product reviews by actual experts who have tested several soundbars with actual music in all price ranges – not fake reviews pushing you to purchase a soundbar that will crap out in the middle of your favorite album. That’s why we scour the web and certify over 110 soundbars as fully tested and then shortlist the best soundbars for music to ensure you’re ready to lose yourself in the next song. (BTW, we were shocked to find 92% of soundbar reviewers are untrustworthy and many are faking their reviews!) Finding the best soundbar for your setup is crucial for an unparalleled listening experience, blending high fidelity with the convenience of streamlined design.

Below is our list of the 3 best soundbars for music. No matter what kind of music you love, you’ll feel like you are there.

How Did We Rank the Best Soundbars for Music?

We’ve redefined soundbar buying guides, setting us apart from any other site on the planet. Our unique approach leverages a comprehensive dataset from 200+ trusted sites, focusing on key testing metrics (2 required, 2 nice to have) and 3 specifications to rank the top-rated soundbars for music and ensure our recommendations meet your specific needs. Our commitment to unbiased reviews is powered by our ‘True Score’ system, targeting low quality and fake reviews. When you shop through our links, you’re backing our mission. Dive deeper to see how.

🛠️ Minimum Specifications

  • Must have Dolby Atmos
  • Must have an equalizer
  • Must have subwoofer (independent)

🧪 Test Criteria

  • Total Harmonic Distortion: A total harmonic distortion (THD) below 0.7% at 80 decibels to guarantee high-fidelity audio reproduction without unwanted frequencies.
  • Volume Output: The soundbar should be able to deliver a powerful and immersive sound performance, exceeding 91 decibels in volume output.

👍 “Nice To Haves”

  • Latency: With a latency under 100 milliseconds, it ensures minimal delay in data transmission or audio processing.
  • Low-End Roll Off: A low-end roll-off of < 45 Hz to ensure there is plenty of thump and rumble in the bass to enhance your music listening experience.

Latest Updates

  • 04/08/2024: Published the list of best soundbars for music based on our True Score system.

Top Soundbars for Music For 2024

Prices accurate at the time of publishing

See how we test the testers

To secure a spot on our list, a best soundbar for music must meet our stringent criteria for audio performance and quality. If it doesn’t meet these standards, it won’t be featured!

  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Samsung HW-Q950A

    • Best For Gaming

    Ideal for audiophiles, the Samsung HW-Q950A delivers superior, distortion-free audio across a wide volume range, with detailed highs and deep bass for a truly immersive music experience.

    Samsung HW-Q950A Review →

    True Score

    89
    90
    8

    Experts

    91
    5k

    Customers

    SAVE $96
    $1,086.69
    $990.73
  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Samsung HW-Q800A

    The Samsung HW-Q800A offers excellent value, combining high volume capacity and low distortion with a sound profile that enhances both bass and treble, perfect for music enthusiasts on a budget.

    Samsung HW-Q800A Review →

    True Score

    88
    88
    8

    Experts

    92
    525

    Customers

    SAVE $748
    $999.99
    $251.99
  • Runner Up

    Best Value

    Best Budget

    gr recommended award

    Best Mid-Range

    Samsung HW Q900T

    The Samsung HW-Q900T prioritizes loud, room-filling sound with strong bass, although it compromises on high-frequency detail. It’s suited for those who want a powerful audio experience at a mid-range price.

    Samsung HW Q900T Review →

    True Score

    79
    77
    3

    Experts

    83
    444

    Customers

    SAVE $402
    $1,299.99
    $897.95

    Did you know 92% of soundbar reviewers are

    untrustworthy?

    Our research found 10 of 122 soundbar reviewers as of May 2024 can be trusted, and shockingly 1 out of 3 on Google Page 1 were fake reviews showing no proof of test claims. See our Expose and Trust List. This is why Gadget Review is committed calculating the most accurate product scores on the web.

    To do this, we give every soundbar review site a Trust Score, which measures how trustworthy the site and their testing claims are. We then leverage AI & a machine learning model to combine and calculate the Trust Score with data from experts and consumers to deliver the True Score, the web’s most accurate product quality rating.

    394,661

    Soundbar Reviews Analyzed

    149

    Total Products Analyzed

    Read the Soundbar Testing Methodology

Our Approach to Evaluating Soundbars for Music

We’ve redefined soundbar buying guides, setting us apart from any other site on the planet. Our unique approach uses a comprehensive dataset from trusted sites, focusing on key testing metrics like volume output, total harmonic distortion, latency, and low end roll off.

We aggregate and analyze data to ensure our recommendations align with specific needs. Particularly concerning soundbars for music, this entails selecting models that offer exceptional audio quality for watching movies, TV shows or playing video games. Explore our data-driven approach for accurate and dependable soundbar recommendations.

Which Criteria Matters for Testing Best Soundbars for Music?

By focusing on these criteria (2 required, 2 nice to have), anyone can quickly and easily compare these soundbars and how they’ll perform. This helps you make an informed decision and purchase a soundbar that will sound great.

CRITERIARANGEREQUIREDDEFINITION
Total Harmonic Distortion< 0.7YesThe amount of distortion introduced by the soundbar when it processes an audio signal at a given volume (typically 80, 85 or maximum dB output.)
Max Volume> 91 dBYesThe maximum volume that a soundbar reaches when it’s output is turned up to 100%.
Low End Roll Off< 45 HzNo (nice to have)The point at which bass begins to sharply fall below the target response point on a frequency response graph, making it harder to hear.
Latency< 100 msNo (nice to have)The time it takes for a soundbar to process audio signal from a source and output it through the speakers.

Our Trusted Data Sources

(Publication category Score is 80%+)

We looked at 120+ soundbar reviewers and while 10 are trustworthy (60%+ Trust Score), we only use data from the testers that are “very trusted” which means a Trust Score above 70%. The three we have listed below are our most trusted for soundbars.

  1. Becca Fischer – RtingsMuckRack
  2. Matt Bento- Techgear LabMuckRack
  3. Sam Moore – Sound GuysMuckRack

Interested in a comprehensive analysis of our data sources? We’ve got you covered. Below, you’ll find a detailed list of every soundbar review website we’ve identified, organized by their respective Trust Scores from highest to lowest. But we didn’t stop there. We’ve meticulously reviewed each publication and verified the data by checking whether the authors have bio links to MuckRack or LinkedIn. We’re committed to not only checking the facts but ensuring their veracity.

Soundbars Test Data & Results

1. total harmonic distortion test result

Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) measures the fidelity of soundbars by indicating the percentage of unwanted harmonics added to the original audio. A THD under 1 ensures minimal distortion, critical for preserving audio quality across music, movies and games. This low distortion level enhances clarity, maintains detail, and ensures a high-fidelity listening experience, crucial for understanding dialogues, appreciating music nuances, and immersing in game sounds.

We believe soundbars should have less than 1% THD because this helps confirm their ability to accurately reproduce a wide range of audio without perceptible distortion. We say “perceptible” because it’s impossible to remove all distortion, but you can reduce it to the point it’s impossible to notice. Low THD also helps improve your comfort by preventing fatigue during extended use, making it an essential for anyone that marathons movies, games or music.

Total Harmonic Distortion (lower is better)

2. max volume test result

Maximum volume is the easiest aspect of a soundbar to understand: it’s just how loud the soundbar itself will actually get. What’s less clear is why a soundbar getting loud is so important. While higher max volumes give you the ability the fill rooms with sound or use a soundbar as makeshift party speakers, they’re also responsible for helping ensure that audio stays clear when listening at normal listening levels.

This is commonly referred to as “headroom”, and having enough headroom on a soundbar means that the soundbar is able to play back sounds at a high enough level (and with good enough clarity) that the volume level you’ll normally listen to music, movies or games with will sound perfectly clear and distortion free. We recommend your soundbar have no less than 91 dB of maximum volume and the higher you go, the better your soundbar is at filling larger and larger rooms.

Max Volume (in dB; higher is better)

3. latency test result

Large amounts of latency create problems when trying to sync up audio and video. While you’ve got a bit of wiggle room with how much of a delay can exist between the audio that comes out of your soundbar and the images on your TV, it’s not a ton. If there’s too much latency the mismatch starts to become obvious, and people start looking like they stopped talking while dialogue is still playing. This is especially concerning for gamers, who rely on audio and video to sync up well enough that the footprints you hear around the corner are accurately getting closer.

It’s for these reasons we recommend a latency less than 100 ms. For most content, this is a low enough delay that any mismatch is going to be largely unnoticed. If you’re a highly competitive gamer and don’t want to do calibration out of the box to line up the A/V, the lowest latency you can find is going to work best. For music and moves, though, 100 ms or less will work great.

Latency (in milliseconds; lower is better)

4. Low end roll off test result

When it comes to getting the most bass you can out of your soundbar, low-end roll off is a great indicator of just how deep the bass on it can get. If a soundbar doesn’t have a roll off that starts deep enough into the bass part of the audio spectrum, then it’ll result in quiet or even absent bass, which removes most of the punch and impact of not only music, but also movies and video games. the longer it takes bass to roll off, the better.

When it comes to most soundbars for most use cases, we recommend a roll off that doesn’t start until at least 45 Hz, but it only gets better the further you go down. It’s worth noting that the roll off will only get so low, so don’t expect to find soundbars hitting the teens for roll off, but it isn’t uncommon for very bass-forward options to hit 30 Hz before roll off starts. By aiming for at least 45 Hz, you have a much better chance of getting the deep, rumbling bass you’re looking for out of your music, movies or games.

Low end roll off (in Hz; lower is better)

Best Soundbars for Music: Mistakes To Avoid

  1. Ignoring Connectivity Options: Ensure you don’t overlook the connectivity features when choosing a soundbar for music, as having versatile options like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and HDMI ARC or oiptical can enhance your listening experience and compatibility with different devices. Additionally, knowing how to connect a soundbar using these various options ensures you can easily integrate it with your existing setup, whether for wirelessly streaming music or enhancing the audio from your TV or gaming console.

  2. Sacrificing Audio Quality for Sleek Design: Avoid prioritizing aesthetics over audio performance, as opting for a slim and stylish design may sometimes compromise on sound quality, resulting in a less immersive music experience.

  3. Overlooking Bass Performance: Don’t make the mistake of disregarding bass capabilities, as a soundbar with insufficient bass output can lead to a lackluster music playback, especially for genres that heavily rely on low frequencies like hip-hop or EDM. To ensure deep and impactful bass that elevates your music experience, consider the best soundbar with a subwoofer can significantly enhance the depth and richness of sound across all genres.

  4. Neglecting Room Size and Acoustics: Be mindful of your room’s dimensions and acoustics when selecting a soundbar, as a mismatch between the soundbar’s capabilities and your room’s characteristics can impact sound clarity and overall performance, hindering your enjoyment of music. Proper soundbar placement enhances audio clarity and projection, avoiding proximity to the floor or obstructions. When considering soundbar vs surround sound, a strategically selected soundbar presents a simpler, space-efficient solution for quality sound in acoustically challenging rooms.

The Best Soundbars for Music – Tests Compared

Product
True Score
Low End Roll Off
High End Roll Off
Max Volume Test
Latency
THD @ 80dB

Samsung HW-Q950A

  • Best for Gaming

89
  • 35.13 Hz

  • 13,279.64 Hz

  • 98.8 db

  • 80 ms

  • 0.18 dB

$990.73
$1,087
$96

Samsung HW-Q800A

  • Best for Best Overall

88
  • 34.62 Hz

  • 17,221.56 Hz

  • 95.1 db

  • 31 ms

  • 0.4 dB

$251.99
$1,000
$748

Samsung HW Q900T

  • Best for Large Rooms

79
  • 34.62 Hz

  • 8,992.01 Hz

  • 99.5 db

  • 13 ms

  • 0.18 dB

$897.95
$1,300
$402

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